Last weekend I joined an army of dishevelled travellers and made for London. Armed with a small green handbook, we scurried around the capital congregating at private and secret entrances outside locked, seemingly deserted buildings. Far from furtive, we were blatant, even jocular; but our two-day take-over of London went largely unnoticed and unreported by the media who chose to ignore the 100,000 strong army and focused instead on Brexit, the demise of Thomas Cook and the scandal of possible prime ministerial corruption.

I joined the throng taking part in London’s Open House weekend. Billed as the ‘world’s largest architectural showcase’ 800 private and public buildings opened their doors to the public for a free-of-charge opportunity to peer behind the scenes at the capital’s architecture. Founded in 1992, it now features architect guided tours, neighbourhood walks, access to new iconic architecture, like the Shard and the new US Embassy, visits to historic sites, the Guildhall, 10 Downing Street and London’s little known but fabulously preserved, Roman bathhouse, as well as a chance to peer into some unusual and distinctive private homes.

Behind the buildings lie the stories of the people who designed, made and funded them, the purpose for which they were built and their contribution to the life of the city and nation.

The charitable institution where I work, threw open its doors; by 10 am there was a queue of eager visitors. It gave our volunteer guides a chance, not only to show off the buildings (of which we are particularly proud) but also to explain what we do today, and why the support of the public is still so vital. Having rallied and said thank you to our troops, I went on a short ‘mystery’ shop to see how other places were chatting to and engaging with their visitors.

What impressed me was not only the architecture, but the connection the guides made between their buildings and visitors’ everyday experiences – loneliness, celebration, pride, excitement. With a good tour guide, the buildings came alive, not only as objects to be appreciated, but as a way to explore common humanity. Such a fabulous idea, Open House has now spread to 41 cities around the world.

So my questions is, “Why not Salisbury?” Many visitors see us as a ‘one trick’ wonder, the cathedral with an average dwell time of just 30 minutes. Other attractions, even nearby in the Close, struggle to attract visitors. But we are blessed with a plethora of buildings that together tell the story of our city many of which are hidden behind modern businesses; the Odeon, Boston Tea Party, Cross Keys; We have Almshouses galore, private jewels in the Close. Salisbury is waiting to be discovered.

Open House Salisbury? Why not? An architectural component to the next festival? Why not?